Bernhard Seikovits:  another chance at his NFL dream

Some people say America is the land of second chances. Austrian Bernhard Seikovits hopes NFL scouts see it that way.

The 23-year-old Vienna native has been selected as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program for the second year in row. After failing to be one of the final four players allocated to an NFL team in 2020, Seikovits knew he had work to do. The 6’6 pass catcher entered the last year’s program stuck in the middle between a tight end and receiver. He knew his best chance at the NFL level would come out of playing from a three-point stance.

So he put in the work to earn this second chance at the NFL:

“It feels great to be selected again. I really worked hard for this second chance. I improved a lot and think I earned it. “

In order to be ready for another chance the former Dacia Vienna Viking has been working to fill out his enormous 6’6 frame bulking up to a solid 255 pounds.

Seikovits explains the work that went into building the body of an NFL tight end.

“Well good food, consistent gym training, and good sleep. The hard thing was to stay flexible and get faster. I wanted to get faster while gaining weight. Fortunately, I somehow was able to combine all of this pretty well.”

Photo: Peter Kramberger

This past summer, Seikovits was out on the field again playing for his hometown club the Dacia Vienna Vikings, whom he has been with for the past 13 years. In the three game playoff series against the Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants, he showed off his new power, running through tackles while putting up four touchdowns and 262 yards. In 2019, Seikovits was the leading receiver on a Vikings team that made it all the way Austrian Championship game, putting up 864 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Seikovits on getting to play football for his hometown this summer:

“It was fun as always, playing together with guys you know for over 8 or even 10 years is always a great experience.”

His rare combination of size, speed, and skills was what got Seikovits an invitation to the 2019 NFL International Player Pathway Combine in Cologne, Germany and subsequently first chance in the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. This year, Seikovits will get another chance to represent Austria while chasing him dream. He will also be joined by his teammate from the Vikings, defensive lineman Leonel Misangumukini.

Seikovits is grateful for the support he has gotten along his NFL journey:

“It really is an honor I just feel the support especially from the young kids in our club and also all over Austria, I just try to pave the way for them.”

Photo: Hannes Jirgal

A second chance in the program has worked before as Germany’s David Bada earned two chances in the program. His second time around Bada switched from defensive end to nose tackle and was able to land a spot on the Washington Football Team’s practice squad this past season.  Seikovits, the former Austrian national team receiver hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow countryman Sandro Platzgummer who completed last year’s NFL International Player Pathway Program and spent the 2020 season on the New York Giants practice squad. If things work out the two could be sharing the field on Sundays in the NFL, just like they did all those years in the Austrian Football League. Seikovits on his goals for his second shot in in the NFL.

“My goal is to pave the way for the rest of the talent because there is a ton in Austria and in Europe in general. Short term my goal is to compete my hardest and show NFL IPP that I should be in the NFL.”

Photos: Peter Kramberger, Hannes Jirgal

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and